Waxing and Waning

Hormones… wow. They do some serious things to a body and mind. Currently, I get an injection of estrogen every two weeks, and I take a testosterone blocker twice a day. I am mainly going to discuss the estrogen shots today.

The common theme of my most recent posts is my mind. This post is no exception. I am fascinated by the mental changes I have been going through. As Sondheim wrote, “Everything’s different. Nothing’s changed.”

I have however, failed to address one major thing. The hormonal cycle. There are many ways to administer estrogen, pills, sub-dermal implants, patches, gels and shots come to mind. I suspect I am forgetting some and perhaps unaware of others.

Shots are known to be quite effective, but they have an advantage or disadvantage depending on how you choose to look at it. Shots give you a surge of hormones almost immediately, peaking at about two days later, then gradually releasing for the next 9 or 10 days, and by the end of two weeks, you are running on empty.

Rinse and repeat.

Believe it or not, I wanted to go on shots because of this hormonal swing, as I imagine it is more similar to a cis woman’s monthly hormonal cycle, except it is every two weeks instead of every four. Well, be careful what you wish for.

I have no clue if it is like what a cis woman goes through. I can say I now empathize. I long thought women exaggerated when they blamed their actions on hormones. I know better now.

I am often at the mercy of my hormones. Compound that with my inexperience. This is very new. I do not exactly know what this cycle is supposed to do to my brain. I don’t yet know when to anticipate what.

I will never have a period (kinda’ feeling bittersweet about that one) but this fluctuation in estrogen levels does give me PMS-like symptoms. When I am running low, I am prone to being short tempered, snappish, and generally more negative. When I am filled up, I am an emotional mess, prone to tears, vast and rapid mood swings and what may be best described as a maternal instinct. Neither the peak nor the valley makes it easy for me to be in a normal or default head space, although I imagine this will, at the very least, slightly improve or mature once I have more experience under my corset.

Testosterone is a steroid. It builds muscle, provides energy, sex drive. Estrogen is like a steroid of the emotional part of the brain. You notice when it is there and you notice when it is not. You behave differently in either case.

I am going through an emotional renaissance. Even without the cycling hormones, my emotional responses to things are changing, but when you throw in the cycle, my God! It does cause me some identity issues. Who am I? Am I the same person I was? What does that even mean?

Having been at the mercy of the hormonal ebb and flow for almost three months now is detaching me from my former masculinity even though I was never really an uber masculine specimen to start with. My brain chemistry has changed so much, in fact, that I am actually beginning to forget what it was like to be fully male. If you find that hard to believe, well, so do I. It was a shock to the system when I realized it. It is like, I understand how my brain used to work, but I cannot figure out how to get it to work that way again, not that I would really want to. I also can’t exactly remember what it felt like before hormone replacement therapy to be in my head, so that further complicates and yet helps to explain why I would struggle to think and feel that way again.

It is kinda’ surreal, being around people, who only know me as male. People who for whatever reason, I have not come out to. I am still good enough at playing male to go unnoticed, and hormones do not do all the work to make one appear female… nor do they work their physical magic overnight. Still, at these times, I am extra self aware, and feel like I am playing someone I no longer inhabit.

So again, Sondheim.

Everything’s different
Nothing’s changed
Only maybe slightly rearranged.

You’re sorry/grateful
Regretful/happy
Why look for answers
Where none occur?
You’ll always be
What you always were
Which has nothing to do with
All to do with her.

Aloha,
Tori

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